Payday for Spar executives, Uncle Tom’s Cabin sold, and seasonal work permits on the way

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A huge payday is due for the three top executives in the company that owns the Irish Spar franchise.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A huge payday is due for the three top executives in the company that owns the Irish Spar franchise. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


The three most senior executives in BWG Foods, owner of the Spar franchise in Ireland, will share a cash payout of about ¤41.5 million in coming weeks, valuing the group’s total equity at about €415 million. Mark Paul reports that the three will share the payment as part of an estimated €81 million deal to sell down their remaining stake in the company.

Mark also has details of a landmark Dublin pub that is set for redevelopment after being sold last week for about €3 million. Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Dundrum is 130 years old and its owner’s family had operated a pub on its site since 1890.

He reports too on a proposed new system for work permits would allow employers to hire seasonal workers from outside the EEA for the first time, possibly for periods of up to nine months.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy writes that a new study has found most older people who own their homes are not interested in downsizing even if suitable alternative accommodation or financial incentives are available. These so-called “empty nesters” could number as many as 560,000. Eoin also reports on data quoted by deputy Central Bank governor Sharon Donnery indicating that for every 12 new jobs created in Dublin over the past five years, just one new home has been built.

In her Net Results column, Karlin Lillington reflects on her recent experience before the Grand International Committee on Disinformation at a meeting hosted in the Seanad last week. She was particularly taken by comments made by original Facebook investor Roger McNamee, who proposed that our personal data be given the status of a human right rather than an asset.

Marie Boran takes a look at “deepfakes”, or realistic fake footage of people doing and saying things they have never done or said. With the 2020 US presidential election looming, there is a fear that we are on the brink of an information apocalypse, she writes.

In our Innovation section, Olive Keogh profiles the Athlone company that has developed a cloud-based product aimed at helping small businesses that perennially find themselves chasing debtors for payments they’re due.

Claire O’Connell looks at gene editing, the winner of an Irish Times reader poll earlier this month to decide on the most significant innovation of the last decade. She considers the potential benefits of the innovation as well as the many questions about safety and ethics that surround it.

In this week’s Innovation Talks column, John Holden is writing about the many innovative ideas that have sprung up to circumvent the completed parts of Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico. Think cutting out bollards and then placing them back in exactly the same spot so that nobody notices.

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